Monday, 13 August 2012

Waltzing Venezia

We started off with the Doge's Palace, before witnessing a glass blowing demonstration. The Murano Glass Factory was filled with candy-coloured glass, bright reds and blues and greens and yellows, but the heat hit us as soon as we stepped in - from the furnaces set to melt glass. The demonstrator blew a decanter with such ease you'd think it was child's play (it isn't). Later, we were taken to the shops, which sold everything from cups to mirrors, all very beautiful, and all terribly overpriced. 

The next thing on the itinerary was a gondola ride. Our own gondolier did not sing (most of them don't, it turns out), but as he rowed us across the mossy green waters, we passed another gondolier booming out an Italian tune while the people on his gondola video him with touristy excitement. The reflection of the bright sun danced across the water, and people in the different boats chattered loudly and waved to each other cheerfully. It all felt more touristy than romantic, but it was fun too. Besides, a gondola ride is part of the Venetian experience right?

I don't know if it was simply the weather for the day, or the canals winding throughout the whole city, but whatever the reason, Venice remained cool, something we appreciated compared to the merciless summer sun in other cities.

The city is a maze of small streets with stores selling the same things - Venetian masks, Murano glass and other touristy trinkets and handbags. You can easily lose yourself (literally) there. The afternoon was spent browsing through cheap(ish) handbags and overpriced everything else. We snacked on parma rucola rotolo and a nutella crepe from street stalls, and later delighted in finding delicious cream pastries and fresh milk for only 0.60euros in a local bakery. Venetian masks are truly beautiful, but after debating the probability of it being left in a corner of the house to collect dust, I decided not to get one.

Our dinner place proved to be a tricky restaurant to find. After asking for directions, getting pointed in all sorts of directions from different locals (all roads lead to Rome?) and making numerous detours, we finally found it. Squid ink pasta and seafood - it wasn't very good, but then again when one is with a tour, the food standards are never very high. As the sky turned to a dusky blue, we bade Venice goodbye and took the hydrofoil back to mainland.

I personally feel that this city is described as being far more romantic than it actually is. Maybe it once was, but it has now become overrun with tourists. Still, it retains a sort of unique charm. Perhaps one ought to return during a festival; that would be quite an explosion of culture, and maybe in the festive mood the number of tourists can be forgiven.

Photos taken with Canon Ixus 105

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